QUESTION: How did you come to make this film?
JOANNA QUINN: I went to art college to study graphics and did animation most of the time I was there. I started Girls Night Out at college but it was unfinished when I left. It took a further two years to complete which means I worked on it four years in total. Since leaving college I have taught a little and undertaken illustration work.
Q: Where did you get the inspiration for the husband sitting in front of the television, not even looking round when his wife says she is going for a night out with the girls. Is there something autobiographical in your film?
JQ: The husband is a generalisation. The women in the film work in a cake factory in the Welsh valleys. I worked in a similar factory for a while. There is a Welsh language version, as well, which I find funny because I do not understand it.
Q: Why did you choose to set it in Wales?
JQ: I am not Welsh by birth, but I have Welsh friends and I have been a member of a film workshop in Wales for about six years. I was living in London and travelling back and forth because there was a better environment for independent film making in Cardiff. London is more a centre for commercial film-making. Eventually I decided to move to Wales. Cardiff is a very lively place at the moment, a great deal of money is being put into film making and the media.
I have sold my film to S4C television, the Welsh Channel 4. My next film has the same
characters because S4C would prefer to have a few films put together as a package, rather than a one-off film of five minutes. It is difficult to programme short films. When I made the film I didn’t think about having it shown on television, I just made it to the length that seemed right for the subject.
Q: There is an emphasis on female sexuality in womens’ films which is also evident in Alison de Vere’s The Black Dog. Is this a trend?
JQ: I think this is an exciting time for women in animation because it is such a male dominated area and because it is a fairly new phenomenon that women are making films. It is a sort of back-lash. We are taking the medium by the throat, doing exactly what we want.
Q: You have nothing against men?
JQ: Oh no!
Q: Are you inspired by other animators?
JQ: Yes. Seeing a lot of other films makes me feel a great deal still needs to be done about sexism, especially within animation. People don’t think animation has a serious intention because it is funny. Making people laugh is a good way of getting the message about feminism across without drumming it in.
Q: What is the main message?
JQ: It is about women being together, women just enjoying themselves without men. Although there is a male stripper he is irrelevant, he is an excuse for the women to get together and enjoy themselves. I also like the idea of having women as the strongest characters instead of being related to men in some way, a wife and so on. In most films men are the strongest characters, women are just attached to the men. The idea was to make a film with women where men are not important, to prove you can have a good film without dominating men.
Babylon – Peter Lord & David Sproxton
In one of the main hotels of the city there is a large and loud meeting of arms dealers, who are the defenders of peace, mankind, and profits. A fat bully-boy, symbolising their combined evil, grows and grows until he finally bursts.
The directors: Peter Lord was born in 1953, David Sproxton in 1954, in England. The partnership (Aardman Animations) was formed while filming children’s TV series for the BBC. Their metamorphosing plasticine character Morph, appeared for the first time in 1976. From real- life soundtracks, they have produced Animated Conversations for the BBC from 1978, and Conversation Pieces for Channel Four from 1981. Aardman Animations have produced a number of recent commercials (Lurpak “Scuba Diver” and The Guardian “Puppets” were selected for Annecy ‘87), and Lord and Sproxton collaborated with the Brothers Quay on a promotional video for singer Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehatmner (by Stephen Johnson, also selected for Annecy ‘87).
QUESTION: What scale are the figures?
PETER LORD: They are about half-a-metre high, the big puppet was four metres high.
Q: Can you say something about the symbol of the man who gets bigger and bigger?
PL: To me the big man is, inappropriately, an abstract. He could hardly be more solid. All the other people are human beings. He symbolises all their machinations and efforts coming together to create something far larger than they can control. They are responsible. Without them it wouldn’t happen, but like Frankenstein’s monster it gets wildly out of control.